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Work-life Balance: Keeping Work & Life Separate at Home

Running a business from home has many advantages. Apart from decreased overhead costs and reduced investment capital, a home-based business allows you to work from the comfort of your own home with more flexible working hours. And unlike working in an office or running a brick-and-mortar store, you can scale up and down easily without consistently worrying about long-term commitments.  There are, however work-life balance items to be aware of.

On the flip side, running a business from home also has its downsides, the most common one being the tendency for work and personal life to bleed into each other. Since you are working from the comfort of your own home, it’s easy for personal matters to get in the way of your business, and vice versa.

So, how do you keep work and life separate while running a home-based business? Here are several strategies you should consider: 

1. Have regular work hours

Set regular work hours wherein you start the workday and end it in the same manner. It can be tempting to stay in bed for another thirty minutes or put off some work for after dinner, but being inconsistent with working hours will only lead your work and personal lives to muddle together. If you have non-business related obligations to attend to, like taking care of your second home insurance, wait until you ‘get off’ from work to address them.

2. Stop working at the end of the workday

Just as you should start the workday on time, you should also make it a point to end it on time as well. Many home-based business owners tend to continue to do work after the end of the workday. Still, even if it’s just replying to an email or taking care of a single order, this practice blurs the boundaries between work and home.

While you set boundaries for yourself, do the same for your clients and employees as well. For work-life balance, set business hours wherein you will only respond to people during that time. If you still receive calls, messages, or emails outside of work hours, set up an auto-reply system that will inform senders that you will respond during the next business hours. 

3. Avoid procrastinating

If you are the type to procrastinate, you should kick this habit right away if you want to keep your work and personal lives separate at home. Since you are already working from the comforts of your own home, it’s much more tempting to leave work for later. After all, your laptop is just within reach, and you can always start working when you finally tear your eyes off the TV. But the more you procrastinate during working hours, the more work you have to make up for when it’s supposed to be downtime.

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4. Set up a workspace

Having a space at home dedicated to your business is one of the best ways to maintain focus during work hours. As opposed to working in whatever spot you want, working in only one space helps you maintain discipline and keep your work and living areas separate.

5. Do errands later

There’s no harm in taking a five-minute break to unload the laundry or wash the dishes during lunch; having the luxury to do these short tasks is one of the benefits of working from home and helps you create a “win-win” work-life balance. For more tedious tasks, however, it’s best to leave them for the end of the workday or during your days off. Otherwise, you can end up working later than usual when you take care of time-consuming obligations during work hours.

6. Orient the family

 Your family members are perhaps the most significant sources of distractions when running a business from home. And for this reason, setting boundaries with them is a great way to keep your work and home life independent of each other.

Inform the family of your working hours and what they can and can’t do during those hours. For instance, tell your children to reserve non-urgent matters after the workday. If they still require constant attention, consider hiring a nanny to watch over them while you work. The same goes for your partner and other members of the household. If it’s not urgent, tell them to wait until your breaks or after you get off work. 

Keeping your work and personal lives separate is the best way to maintain a healthy work-life balance, especially when working from home. To do so, use these strategies and always ensure that your boundaries are respected.  Remember it’s a work in progress.  It will take time and effort.  Go this link for more related resources.

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